Former track coach accused of tricking athletes into sending nude photos
BOSTON (WCVB) - A former Northeastern University track and field coach is accused of tricking female student-athletes into sending him hundreds of nude and semi-nude photos and cyberstalking at least one woman.
Steve Waithe, 28, is in federal custody facing cyberstalking, extortion and fraud charges. He coached track and field for Northeastern, working with high jump and pole vaulters from 2018 to 2019.
According to a criminal complaint, Waithe gained access to unsuspecting student-athletes’ phones and sent himself their personal photos, including nude photos. A year later, he contacted them through sham social media accounts, saying he “found” compromising photos online and offered to “help” scrub them from the internet.
But he claimed the victims needed to send him more nude photos.
Waithe is accused of saying, “You have to share with me basically every picture you have that you wouldn’t want on the internet, which I know is uncomfortable, but that’s the only way I can search them.”
None of those women sent him additional photos.
But in a different scheme, 10 women did send him nearly 300 nude or semi-nude photos. Prosecutors say Waithe messaged them from fake social media accounts under the guise of “athletics research” or a “body development study.”
Waithe is also accused of cyberstalking at least one woman.
“I think that it’s awful that he has committed these crimes that have affected countless women, not just those who came forward. Sexual harassment is very prevalent in college. You never think it’s going to happen to you until it does,” said a former member of the Northeastern track team, who wished to remain anonymous.
Northeastern said it fired Waithe in February 2019 after an investigation of alleged inappropriate conduct toward female student-athletes.
The FBI is seeking to identify other potential victims.
Waithe previously worked as a track and field coach at several academic institutions, including Penn State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee and Concordia University Chicago.
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